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Regionalized Priority Testing for Agriculture

Tags: COVID-19
April 24, 2020 12:00 AM
By: Admin

Regionalized Priority Testing for Agriculture

​Download a printable PDF of this guidance.

As a direct result of agriculture and the entire food supply chain being life sustaining, combined with hot spots of COVID-19 in processing facilities, any symptomatic adult working in agriculture – including but not limited to those working in processing and manufacturing facilities, food warehouses, groceries stores, and on-farm labor (seasonal farm labor and H2A workers included) – is approved to receive priority testing if they live and/or work in Montgomery County or northeast Pennsylvania.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and diarrhea. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

Those working in agriculture outside of these prioritized regions who are showing symptoms for COVID-19 are encouraged to visit any other approved testing site in Pennsylvania. A full map of locations can be found on the Department of Health's website.

Process for Regionalized Priority Testing

Members of Pennsylvania's agriculture workforce who find themselves symptomatic for COVID-19 are encouraged to follow the steps below for priority testing if they live and/or work in Montgomery, Susquehanna, Wyoming, Luzerne, Carbon, Monroe, Pike, Wayne, or Lackawanna counties. There is no cost for testing at these sites, since the test is completed at the PA state public health laboratory.

Montgomery County – guaranteed next-day testing for agriculture and food supply industry.

Montgomery County Community College, parking lot

340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422

Call 610-631-3000, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4 PM

Testing site is operational, by appointment, Monday through Saturday

Northeast Pennsylvania – includes Susquehanna, Wyoming, Luzerne, Carbon, Monroe, Pike, Wayne, and Lackawanna counties.

Mohegan Sun Pocono Plaza Arena

255 Highland Park Blvd., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702

Pre-registration is required one day in advance of testing, there is no on-site registration available. Testing is by appointment only.

Pre-registration is available online, if you cannot register online call 1-877-PA-HEALTH to be assisted by a community nurse. View instructions for online registration here.

For more information on testing at the Mohegan Sun location, visit the PA Department of Health's website.

 

Follow Guidance & Orders to Protect Workforce

It is important that every step of the food supply chain implement COVID-19 mitigation efforts by enforcing social distancing, strictly following Secretary Levine's worker safety order, and adhering to guidance issued by the department and outlined below:

  • Farms and On-Farm Deliveries: Includes recommendations for limited exposure such as identifying drop off locations for regular deliveries, logging deliveries and on-farm entries, protecting the workforce, maintaining regular cleaning and sanitation, and writing a continuity of business plan to prepare if the farm operator becomes ill or needs to be isolated, so that farm operations can continue.
  • Farmers Markets and On-Farm Markets: This guidance includes recommendations for delivery and pick-up, methods for contactless shopping experiences, and decreasing crowds. It outlines the opportunity for farms to open an on-farm stand to sell raw produce, eggs, or shelf stable packaged foods such as jams, jellies, or baked good.
  • Guidance for Food Processing Facilities: The Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, and PEMA guided Pennsylvania's food processing facilities through recommendations to ensure their workforce remains healthy, reduce outbreaks, and maintain continuity of operations. The guidance included separate recommendations for facilities in areas with widespread transmission and limited transmission, as well as steps facilities should immediately implement to screen employees and reduce risk.
  • Seasonal Farm Labor Camps: Employers of seasonal and migrant laborers who provide farm labor camp housing should adhere to these enhanced requirements to adequately ensure their workforce is protected from risk of COVID-19.
  • Grocery and Convenience Stores: The department has worked with the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association and directly with stakeholders to communicate with operators of grocery stores and other retail food facilities the importance of adherence to the department's guidance and Secretary Levine's worker safety order. The guidance includes both mandatory and recommended customer protective controls, employee protective controls, facility sanitation procedures, and advice to managers.
  • Procedures for Sanitization and Diagnosed Employees: This includes both mandatory and recommended guidance to employers to protect employees and customers from COVID-19. Once an employee is diagnosed, it's critical to follow this guidance and the worker safety order to prevent further spread to other individuals. There is no evidence of COVID-19 being spread through food or food packaging.

For the most up to date, comprehensive list of guidance to the agriculture and food industry, visit agriculture.pa.gov/COVID19.

Businesses in need of PPE to support a healthy workforce and follow the worker safety order are encouraged to visit the Department of Community and Economic Development's Business to Business Portal. The portal is designed to connect Pennsylvania employers seeking PPE and related items with resources.


Last updated 4/24/20


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